Dear Church: Here’s How You Can Help With Reconstruction

Dear Church: Here’s How You Can Help With Reconstruction September 13, 2019

Some Christian Churches are waking up to the fact that some within their walls are starting to Deconstruct their faith. I’ve even seen a few Churches hosting events to address the issue and even talk about how to move on to Reconstruction.

But, here’s what those Churches need to understand: If you don’t change your Church into a safe place to ask questions and even doubt some of your precious doctrines, people will continue to walk away from you.

Yes, it’s great that some churches are taking notice of the fact that people are Deconstructing their faith. Of course, how could they possibly ignore it when hundreds of thousands of Christians are walking away from the Christian Church? The research is overwhelming and church growth experts have been sounding the alarm for the last decade over the numbers of young people leaving the faith and the rise of the “Nones and the Dones” in the American Evangelical Church.

Yes, admitting you have a problem is the first step. But, to really solve the problem, you need to realize what the cause of the problem is and then be willing to make the necessary changes to reverse the trend.

The problem we’re facing is this: Christians are questioning their faith. They are Deconstructing their Christian faith and doubting the beliefs that were handed to them as children. As they defy the status quo of Christianity, they are being attacked as heretics, labelled “divisive” and threatened with eternal damnation for asking too many questions.

This is why they are leaving the Church. Plain and simple, they are being asked to leave, or placed in situations where the only sane choice is to walk away to avoid the abuse.

So, my dear American Christian Church, let me urge you to do this one thing if you want to stop the mass exodus of Deconstructing Christians – Embrace those who doubt and allow them to wrestle through their Deconstruction process.

As long as you continue to hold an iron grip on your certainty and refuse to allow people to work through their uncertainty, those people are going to have no other choice but to walk away.

Now, here’s what that would look like: Your pastors are going to have to stop insisting that they “know” everything. Your Bible Teachers are going to have to start inviting people to ask honest questions and take those seriously. Your insistence upon having people sign your Statement of Faith before they can become a member, or teach in your schools or Sunday School classrooms or join your staff is going to have to go away.

To be honest, I don’t think my appeal is really going to reach the right people. Most of those who are pushing people away are most likely going to continue to do so in the name of “defending the faith” and “standing up for Biblical truth” or whatever.

But, I have to at least try to speak into those places and let people know why they’re seeing so many people walk away from the Church. I need to at least attempt to show Church leaders how they can create safe spaces for doubt and stop hurting those who ask questions about their faith.

If nothing else, those people can no longer say, “I didn’t know” or “I had no idea” when they wake up one Sunday and walk into an empty church building.

For those who are still Deconstructing their faith and want someone who can help them process this, I have a few half-price seats still available [while they last] for “Square 1”. This is a 90 Day transformational coaching experience designed to help people find a foundation for Reconstruction. Registration is here.

For those who are creating the toxic atmosphere that is driving people away from the Church, let me just say this: One day you’re going to realize all the pain you’ve caused people. We’re hoping to build a safe space where even you are welcome and forgiven for driving us away. That’s what Jesus would want.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

Keith’s newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David M

    People who experience doubt should be able to count on a sympathetic response. They should be given every possible assistance in overcoming their doubts. However, they must realise what the potential consequences of their doubts are. If someone doesn’t believe in, say, the Resurrection, then that person is not a Christian. And the Church cannot pretend that he is a Christian. The rules cannot be rewritten so that someone who doesn’t believe in the Resurrection still qualifies as a Christian.

    This is something that all parties should accept with good will. The other members of the Church may regret that someone has lost his faith, but there should be no bitterness or vindictiveness on their part. And the person whose beliefs no longer qualify him for the Christian brotherhood should not feel that the Church has any obligation to redefine Christianity in order to accommodate him.

  • mia

    Bravo. You are proving Keith’s point. The churches will continue to empty. I doubt a church will continue to welcome someone they think is “not a Christian.”
    You also clearly believe that correct doctrine, and not faith in Jesus saves someone.

  • David M

    To an extent you may be able to distinguish between believing in Jesus and believing in doctrine, since some aspects of the doctrine were developed over a period of several centuries. But what if you regard the claim that Jesus rose from the dead as part of “doctrine”, and thus optional? That strikes me as being very problematic. The Resurrection is in all the Gospels, and they are the only real sources that we have for Jesus’ life. Furthermore, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead seems to have been a central part of the message from the earliest stages.

    I don’t think the Resurrection is something that can be neatly excised. To reject it would throw everything into chaos. You also said that it is belief in Jesus by which we are saved rather than belief in doctrine. But part of the reason why Jesus is someone to believe in is that he was indeed raised from the dead and was thus vindicated by God. It is not just that Jesus lived an exemplary life, although that is certainly part of it.

  • Matthew

    Ok … I believe in the resurrection and I confess that Jesus is King, Lord, and Saviour of all … BUT there is a lot of other conservative evangelical theological stuff that I simply no longer accept. I guess my question is … where does one draw the line (or lines)?

  • David M

    I don’t deny that there is a problem in knowing exactly where to draw the line. But the solution to the problem is not to refrain from drawing any lines at all. For me, the line should definitely be drawn between those who are willing to believe (even if they sometimes have doubts) in the supernatural and those who don’t.

    It’s fine if people admire Jesus as an inspiring moral teacher but can’t believe in the Resurrection or any other miracles. But I don’t think that such people should be calling themselves Christians. However, I won’t claim to be the person who knows where the line should be drawn on every issue.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much.

  • KontraDiction

    Have you considered the possibility of a church that welcomes non-Christians? Not in a conditional, hope-you-convert-soon way, but in genuine fellowship. I’d love to see more Christians who are not afraid of non-believers, not judgmental or disdainful, but simply friendly and accepting, the way you’d want to be accepted. These are the churches that are growing.

  • David M

    Ideally, Christians should be able to mix with non-Christians in a relaxed way. But I don’t think that is always possible. Some may find it quite threatening, especially if there is open discussion about what people believe. I have spent quite a lot of time looking at all kinds of arguments against Christianity. In the end, I just don’t find them convincing. Moreover, I know that it is very often a waste of time trying to convince people of the truth of Christianity. In fact, it is often a waste of time trying to convince people that Jesus even existed.

    But not all Christians will be able to accept that. They will feel a need to convert doubters or defeat their arguments.

  • KontraDiction

    Yes, I agree, fundamentalists on both sides will have a hard time mixing or relaxing. And many of these people find discussing their beliefs quite threatening. But I’d still love to see Christians who are devoted to being great friends to outsiders. People who really do love others just as they are, the way we all want to be loved. Jesus was a beautiful example of that, whether you believe he existed or not. I’m not saying it’s easy! But it is possible. And possibly the only way forward to peace.

  • Herm

    John 4:23-24 NIV
    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. [24] God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    Luke 14:25-27 NIV
    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: [26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. [27] And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Acts 4:31-35 NIV
    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. [32] All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. [33] With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all [34] that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales [35] and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

    David, do you recognize any “Christian” church today that lives in accordance with the scripture above?

    Jesus the Christ was raised from the dead. Jesus the Christ has all authority over his sibling disciples today. Jesus the Christ, and the Father, tells the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, what to teach each child of God on earth, as he (the Holy Spirit) lives with and in each forever. As you clearly don’t know the Spirit of truth living with and in you, please read the Bible before you take authority to determine who, and who is not, a member of the only church administrated by Jesus the Christ today.

  • David M

    Herm, I’ve read a number of your comments on this blog and I have noticed that you have difficulty in expressing yourself coherently. So although I am normally happy to engage in discussion with those who disagree with me, I feel that it would be fruitless to do so on this occasion.

  • Herm

    David, I must assume it is in the ear of the beholder, as I have received replies that understood.

    Let’s try one question, that you should be able to comprehend. What is your authority for the judging who is a member of Christ’s church in the Spirit?

  • David M

    as I have received replies that understood.

    Herm, the beauty of the internet is that everyone is free in principle to use it – even someone who has difficulty in distinguishing between the reply and the person who makes the reply. But when such a person decides to challenge not my opinion but my right to express it, then I am likely to be unimpressed.

  • Herm

    David, your opinion, posed as an authoritarian on who is, and is not, a member of “the church”, is the problem, not the solution to reconstruction. You have yet to deconstruct.

    You speak in doctrinal and theological terms, not relational terms. There is no “Christian brotherhood” without becoming a student (disciple) of the one Teacher and the one Instructor. No physical church, or any of it’s administrators, is empowered to speak for Jesus the Messiah who lives with all authority on earth and in heaven. The “Christian church of Constantine”, and all its many named derivatives, study God. All who are of Jesus’ flock are in Jesus and Jesus is in them. All who are disciples of Jesus are his sisters and brothers as each a child of God, answering to the will of their one Father.

    Until you realize what I am telling you, you will be unable to help any reconstruct from their realization that there is no theology or doctrine on earth that can establish their living relationship with and in the very real Spirit of truth.

    John 14:15-21 NIV
    “If you love me, keep my commands. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— [17] the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. [18] I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [19] Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. [20] On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. [21] Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    David, I really don’t mean this to be mean to you. You do not find what I say as coherent because you cannot accept the Spirit of truth living with you and in you forever, for you do not see him or know him as real to you. Your church family traditions do not allow him to be their only Teacher, without pause, without end.

    Please, for the sake of those who have realized that the traditional, well structured theology, rituals and doctrines of their carnal childhood were false, don’t try to intimidate with ressurection has anything to do with their relationship in Jesus and Jesus in them. The rock that Jesus’ church on earth is built on is the Holy Spirit, not Simon Peter.

  • David M

    It is, of course, theoretically possible that I am too mired in centuries of tradition to see the sense in what you are saying. But it is also theoretically possible that I have failed to see the sense in the arguments presented by the mythicists with whom I have debated. They also believe that the “truth” has been lost for centuries and that those who are usually considered experts cannot be trusted to understand it.

    So it may be the case that the truth is to be found on the internet, even if it is presented in a way that seems to lack coherence, but in the end one must trust one’s own judgement.

  • Herm

    David, I love your sense of unknowing tempered with your kindness for others.

    To most confirmed atheists you are a “mythicist” truly mired in centuries of of tribal tradition, as well am I. What separates your theoretical beliefs from those of a Hindi, Muslim, Buddhist, or Jew?

    Were you forced to trust in your own judgement to survive your carnal childhood? Why would you believe a responsible, mature, loving Parent and Brother would force you to survive your spirit childhood, in the end, trusting only your own judgement? How long does it take to grow to mature judgment for an eternal sentient being with choice of influence? Our insurance companies say that it takes 25 years for a carnal human judgment to mature enough to lower the premiums to adult level risks for driving a car.

    Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    I came out (ekklesia) of carnal congregations selling that they could give me rest “in Jesus”, according to their theoretical doctrine and/or dogma. I came to Jesus and found rest as a child of God. Jesus’ and my Father insists that we trust his will, judgment and love every moment of our childhood, as did my parents of Man.

    Again, I can only testify to you that my parent and mature family of God are just as real to me in the Spirit as were my parents and mature family of Man. I am led, provided for, and even more surely nurtured in love as a trusting child of God living in spirit, compared to my childhood of Man. Because we did not share in the same family of Man I can only testify to you that they were very real to me with a trustworthy mature judgment supporting me bonded in love.

    In the Spirit a child need not trust in one’s own judgement. I trust first in Jesus’ judgment because he was, also, a child of Man who knows my range of perspective and earthly influences. I trust my Father’s judgment because he shows me that he cares for me enough to reach out through Jesus to invite me into his family. I accepted.

    In the Gospels Jesus never once said to come to him via a carnal church. Jesus clearly said “all” who are weary and burdened (having only their own judgement to trust in???) to come directly to him to find rest for their souls. He shares his yoke of judgment with me that I may more lightly and easily mature in spirit.

    What I am sharing is not theoretical to me. I know so very little of what there is yet to be learned before I can teach others as Jesus teaches me now. I am a 75 year old carnal adult, speaking and leading responsibly as so, of Man. I am a 75 year old child in the Spirit speaking as I am led by my more mature family of God.